Largest ivory seizure in Thai history

Two disturbingly large shipments of African elephant ivory have been seized at Bangkok port during the month of April.

The first find, a whopping four tonnes worth US$6 million was seized in a shipping container that was manifested as beans.  739 pieces of tusk were concealed in this shipping container that arrived in Bankok after being shipped from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The container was destined for Laos. Thai Customs stated “The pieces weigh around 4,000kg and are worth around 200 million baht (HK$48 million)… it is the biggest ivory seizure in Thai history,”

Some of the 4 tonnes worth of ivory that was discovered

Less than a week later, Thai Customs intercepted another shipping container that was, again, harbouring secret cargo of ivory.

The shipping container, which arrived in Bangkok from Kenya, was manifested as tea leaves.  The container was routed via from Mombasa, Kenya with again the final destination being Laos. 511 pieces of ivory contained some as long as two metres.  This seizure is also worth millions.

Thai Customs officers display the large tusks.

Once in neighbouring Laos, authorities believe the ivory would likely be sold on to buyers from China, Vietnam or back into Thailand, countries where ivory ornaments remain highly prized despite fears the trade is pushing wild elephants to extinction. Under Thai law, registered ivory from domesticated Thai elephants can be sold.

A small shipment of ivory was also seized in Perth during the month of April.  Ivory transhipment ports have also been in the spotlight here.

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